The United States & China

Two Unique Governments

Government Overview: United States

  • Constitution-Based Federal Republic
  • Capital City: Washington D.C.
  • Divided up into 50 states
  • Power divided among executive, legislative, and judicial branches
  • Head of State and Government: President Barack Obama

Definition: Federal Republic

"a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in which the component parts (states, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government; ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who chose their governmental representatives" (CIA World Factbook)

Government Branches: United States

  • Legislative: The House of Representatives and the Senate have the right to make legislation
  • Executive: The President is in charge of enforcing the laws of the United States
  • Judicial: The Supreme Court is in charge of interpreting the U.S. Constitution in regards to laws
  • Power within the United States is divided between the three branches of government through a system of checks and balances in which each branch has power over the others

Government Overview: China

  • Communist State
  • Capital City: Beijing
  • Divided up into 23 provinces
  • The National People's Congress serves as main ruling body
  • Head of State: President Hu Jintao
  • Head of Government: Premier Wen Jiabao

Definition: Communist State

"a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single - often authoritarian - party holds power; state controls are imposed with the elimination of private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people" (CIA World Factbook)

Government Branches: China

  • Legislative: The National People's Congress has the right to legislation, decision, supervision, election, and removal
  • Executive: The State Council is in charge of carrying out the laws of the Republic of China.
  • Judicial: The Supreme People's Court supervises local people's courts throughout China
  • The National People's Congress holds all power within China and reserves the right to regulate other Chinese government agencies

History: United States

  • Formerly a British colony under constitutional monarchy government in which the monarch acts as the head of state under the country's constitution
  • Colonists rebelled against Britain in response to being taxed without representation in government
  • Gained Independence on September 3, 1783 following victory in Revolutionary War against Great Britain

History: China

  • Historically had been under an imperialistic government in which families ruled for hundreds of years in dynasties through military force
  • Imperialistic China ended with the Qing Dynasty in 1912 as a result of civil unrest due to large famines and a history of "unequal" treaties in the eyes of the Chinese people
  • Republic of China was established in 1912 under republic government in which elected/appointed officials made up the government
  • Establishment of current government occurred on October 1, 1949 with victory of the Communists over the Republic of China

Current Issues: United States

  • Faces growing national debt of over ten trillion dollars
  • Health care/welfare debate over whether government how much the government should provide for the poor
  • Involvement in foreign affairs such as the recent "War on Terror"

Current Issues: China

  • Faces intense air pollution in urban areas with the increase of car ownership and usage of coal power
  • With a population of over one billion people, overpopulation and poverty remains a pressing issue
  • Social unrest among China's population, particularly in Tibet, due to government oppression

Reflection

While doing research on the governments of China and the United States I learned the benefits of having a system of checks and balances, the different problems that result from the establishment of democratic and communist governments, and how much the history of a country can influence its current government. By establishing a system of checks and balances with the three branches sharing power, the United States has limited the prevalence of government oppression and corruption. China on the on the other hand with its power centered in the NPC has to constantly deal with corruption within the government and oppresses the people. Another thing I learned dealt with the different issues surrounding each government. In the U.S. with its democratic government, the major issues involve how much the government should be involved in people's lives. In China on the hand with its communist government, the major issue is civil unrest due to government oppression. With each government being unique so too are the problems that arise as a result of the system of government. Lastly I learned how much the history of a country can influence its current government. Prior to the creation of the United States, colonists had been arguing against British taxes on the basis that they had no say in these taxes being passed in government. As a result the colonists rebelled and formed the United States under the basis of a democratic government in which the people rule. In China the peasants had been suffering from multiple famines and felt that the government should take care of them. As a result the peasants supported the communist takeover in which the government has absolute power.

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